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Providence City Councilor Nirva LaFortune: We must counter darkness and hate with love and light



“In this day and age there is no room for racist and xenophobic practices. Our nation should focus on mending and developing bridges locally and internationally. Haitians, Africans and many immigrant communities have withstood years of racism and various forms of oppression,” said Providence City Councilor Nirva LaFortune (Ward 3), herself a Haitian immigrant. “Yet, despite suffering through these horrific, systemic forms of discrimination, we have made countless contributions to science, technology, education, health care, law, government and continue to be strong, resilient and powerful.”

[See here for all the speakers at the event.]

LaFortune was speaking at a press conference that brought together elected officials and members of the immigrant communities recently attacked by President Donald Trump. The press conference was organized LaFortune, with the help of Bernard Georges of New Bridges for Haitian Success, a group that seeks to bridge the gap between the gap between the Haitian community and the greater Rhode Island community through education and outreach, Kappy Bois and Norly Germain.

“Like European immigrants who entered Ellis Island, Haitians, Africans and South and Central Americans come to this country to look for better opportunities for their children and their families because their homelands have been vulnerable to political, economic and environmental catastrophes, and also exploited by some of the powerful nations, including America,” said LaFortune.

“On the eve of Dr Martin Luther King Day I leave you with these words: “‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.’

“So despite hateful remarks and xenophobic practices, let us counter with love and light,” continued LaFortune. “And most importantly, action. It is important for us to stand together in solidarity and demand that our elected representatives speak up for us. And it is important for us to take action when they’re not speaking for us. And to voice our concerns and to unify and to form coalitions because this needs to stop. We need to stop taking steps backward and continue to move forward as a united country: A country that will suppress hate. A country that will suppress racism. A country that will suppress discrimination.”

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About the Author

Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.